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Simple fears are the worst of all
Posted October 14, 2005

Some people might call me a little morbid. I have a thing for monsters, spooky whatnots and horror movies. The walls of my room are covered in posters complete with snapshots of all of my favorite cinematic serial killers. Every once in a while someone will ask how I manage to fall asleep with Leatherface staring at me from his corner of the room. I tell them that it’s easy. I enjoy getting a cheap thrill courtesy of some demented movie director.

But there is something that I find really frightening and I haven’t been able to stop focusing on it lately.

When I was younger and I wasn’t spending my time watching Freddy Krueger do what he does best on the screen, I was spending time with my grandmother, visiting my uncles, playing with my cousins, or making dinner with my dad.

I am a pretty lucky girl. I have an extremely close-knit family. Every year, my entire family, complete with first and second cousins, grandchildren, great- grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, gets together to celebrate as many holidays as we can.

Nearly every month, we meet at Grandma’s place and celebrate someone’s birthday.

We get along extremely well, share the same sense of humor and generally lookout for each other’s well-being. I love my family more than I could ever express and that is why the thought of losing a family member is one of the scariest things I can imagine.

Nearly three years ago, one of my cousins died tragically. It was hard for my family to cope with the loss and even now it still is an extremely touchy subject. Although this was an incredibly difficult experience, it made my family even that much closer and I suppose it helped prepare us for future scares and losses.

The last year has been another tough one for my family. One of my uncles is currently dealing with a severe sickness that has left him weak and exhausted.

My family has united to help him and his immediate family through this rough time, but it is still painful to see how his body is reacting to the medication or hear more negative doctor’s reports.

To make matters even more strained, my grandma, the lady who has kept this family so close and strong, has been undergoing a lot of heart tests lately. She suffered a minor heart attack recently and has now been put on close watch.

A few nights ago, my dad and I were sitting around the dinner table making small talk and we started to discuss some pretty scary things. My pops is a pretty sensitive guy so I know that he is taking these blows a little rough. But that night, he said something that made me realize just how difficult it is for him to deal with all of this.

“You think you’re an adult until you lose a parent. That’s when you realize how much of a child you really are.”

When I was talking to my dad that night, I saw him a little differently. He wasn’t the man who always seemed to be in control. He was a little boy who was scared of losing his mom. He was just as scared as I was.

I couldn’t imagine losing my dad. This man has raised me by himself since I was just two years old. He’s the guy who introduced me to Leatherface. He taught me so many valuable lessons including why family is so important. He stressed the value of an education and he has always reminded me to stick to my views and beliefs even when no one shares them.

Although we are going through some rough times today, I am sure we will get past them. We have each other to lean on and when you have that kind of support, you really don’t have to be scared of anything.

Valerie Rojas, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at